Stockpile Challenge 2018: Week 2 Check-In
By Daisy Luther
As we finish the second week of the stockpile challenge, more folks are seeing the gaps in their preparedness efforts. (Here’s where you can learn about the challenge if you’d like to join in yourself!) Last week, when we checked in, most folks were still doing well but recognizing that certain items were about to run out.
It’s essential to note that the most common use for our stockpiles is that it sees us through financial difficulties. So, many of us are still eating things from the freezer and fridge as opposed to breaking into buckets of emergency food. And this is a very good thing – if you can skip a few weeks of going to the store, it can really help out when times are tight.
If you want to join our community on Facebook, go HERE. Be sure to answer the questions to get in quickly. If you aren’t a social media person, look for these weekly updates and share how it’s going for you in the comments section. If you want to see the kinds of things we’re eating, check out my Instagram here. (You don’t have to have an account to see the pictures, just to comment.)
Here’s what Prep Club members had to say.
I asked the challenge participants in Prep Club how they were doing with the challenge going into the third week and here’s what they had to say. (I added some notes with solutions that may be helpful.)
- It’s going pretty well here. Even my kid who eats Paleo is still finding plenty of options with the things in our freezer. The meals we’re eating are still very “normal” and we haven’t run out of anything yet except fresh greens. I really want to set up a windowsill garden ASAP for that. (Note from Daisy: How to Grow Lettuce Indoors)
- I broke down yesterday and got pup and kitty food. I thought the cats would be fine but it is the middle of winter. Lesson learned and a way to prep for them also is in the works. I am slowly running out of fresh veggies. I have 10 carrots, enough romaine for a couple more days, 3 apples and a pear left. Brown sugar is almost gone, I hadn’t restocked from the holidays. What I have done right will be perfect for the humans for the 30 days. I will be breaking into the powdered milk more than usual and it has forced me to experiment with the few freeze-dried goods I have stored but never used. The window lettuce is sprouting like crazy so an excellent addition to fresh I am hoping in the future. I am throwing out less and reusing leftovers more creatively. So far (except for the pet oops) I will end with no human food purchased. I absolutely love that it has brought out my creative cooking side. (Note from Daisy: Another participant shared how to make brown sugar: It’s just 2 tablespoons of molasses, 1 cup of white sugar, and a fork. Takes less than 5 min to mix. Use more or less molasses depending on how dark you like it.)
- We still have plenty and no runs to the store, but I can see that while I have plenty of “bucket” food for several months, staples won’t last as long as I thought. I need to make a plan for that!
- Did not need to go to the store but when I was picking up my prescription noticed an already cooked chicken in the clearance bin. So yes for 4.00 we had two great meals. Weakness of mine!
- So far … great…but I too need cat good, the canned food they are on didn’t last as long as I thought….
- I’ve learned I can forage here year round and fresh dandelion greens look like spinach or kale when cooked in soups. (Note from Daisy: Learn more about foraging HERE and HERE. This book is a handy reference, too.)
- The bananas, melon, and other fresh items are gone. But I’ve hardly suffered. In fact, this experience is reducing my ‘need’ to replace things immediately. Less spontaneous spending is an unexpected and new found freedom. (Note from Daisy: Find freeze-dried fruits and veggies HERE.)
- Had to go to the store for toilet paper but did not buy any food. Eggs are low and I have found that I never restocked the egg substitute. I need to keep an inventory sheet of some kind.
- I only ran out of milk & cheese. Used a lot of canned & dry goods. It was great having an extra meal in the freezer. I used applesauce in lieu of oil in baking. I need to add powdered milk and dried meats, salami, etc. to my stockpile. I’m also going to make survival bars to add. (Note from Daisy: Here are some links to powdered milk, powdered cheese, and freeze-dried meat.)
- Running out! Depended on too much of the same thing..in my case, eggs…and now I have none. Hens are not keeping up in winter! (Note from Daisy: Find powdered eggs HERE)
- All is good here! I haven’t reached the end of anything and have been eating well. Tonight is broccoli, chicken, cheese soup, with cornbread muffins and homemade ice cream and apple crisp for dessert. Feeling fat and sassy
- I need to find a good powdered/mix of nutrition drinks. I was sick so didn’t feel like eating much. I had some carnation instant breakfast powder mixes, but think I need to find something else, and there definitely wouldn’t be enough long term. my son was sick also. I keep toddler formula on hand for him (because even when he isn’t sick he seems to be on a hunger strike). Any suggestions? Other than that I’m doing good. Out of eggs and some other items but have plenty of other food to keep me full. (Note from Daisy: Check out this article about protein powder as a prep and look into these meal replacement powders packaged for long-term storage)
- So far so good. I will be out of cream soon but that’s an easy fix since I will be able to milk goats in a couple of weeks. (Note from Daisy: For folks without goats, mix powdered milk at a higher concentration to give you a consistency closer to cream.)
- Week two……things that I have run out of – goat’s milk, dairy free baby snacks.
What I learned in week two……I am starting to enjoy cooking again. I am realizing how lazy I have become. I am rejuvenated. I have purpose again This sounds so stupid and a bit trivial but it is true. I have not gone to the store your replenish anything. We are doing very well here. Our meals are still varied and satisfying with a good selection of fresh fruit and veg. The one thing I learned about human nature is that we need our comfort food. So I will stockpile Baileys for my coffee and buy more selection in regards to veg. Week three here we come!!!!
- I started the challenge just this week, so I haven’t run out of anything yet. I have noticed already that I need to buy more dry milk and butter, and I need many more canned tomatoes (we eat way more than what I planned for). Also, I need to make more preparations for my cats and dogs.
I do pretty well I think with fresh or frozen food/everyday pantry items. I tend to keep my basic pantry stocked with about 2 months of items just because I live out in the country and don’t like to have to drive to town all the time. Plus, I have found it saves money. There is nothing like shopping from your own pantry! Or rotating through and using your preps. My husband, who for the longest time didn’t like me prepping, now fondly refers to our prepped items as the “apocalypse closet”!
- I know my grocery bill will be huge in a month!!!! But I am using up items that may have expired so that is a good thing. I am always restocking so now that I’m not I have a running list for February 1 ugh! (Note from Daisy: Once-a-month grocery shopping can save you LOADS of money. Check out this series for details and be looking for an updated guide to once a month shopping before February.)
- We have run out of everything fresh. I can grow year round where I am but just moved into our new place so all we had was a few broccoli and lettuce plants and peas that are not producing. Getting a garden going takes time. Eggs will only last a few more days. I’m headed to the farmers market this morning. Everything else we are ok on so far. I like cooking but now I’m back to work this week it has been challenging keeping up. Convenience foods and eating out are sometimes handy! (Note from Daisy: This is a great point – and it’s why I stock up on lots of ingredients for speedy meals that require little-to no-cooking. Get some ideas HERE and HERE.)
- Due to illness and other issues last month, I started the month with low levels in the refrigerators. So, it was no surprise that I had to get milk, eggs and some other items at the grocery store this week.
- I’ve learned we are not prepared AT ALL, lol. Got to think this out and figure out a better solution. (Note from Daisy: Everyone has to get started somewhere. Start out planning for a 2-week stockpile and add from there. This month, when you shop, focus on shelf-stable items. Then, continue adding products as time goes on. You’ll be set in no-time. My book, The Pantry Primer, can help with shopping lists and my own experiences starting from a bare pantry to a one-year food supply.)
- We have run out of everything fresh. I can grow year round where I am but just moved into our new place so all we had was a few broccoli and lettuce plants and peas that are not producing. Getting a garden going takes time. Eggs will only last a few more days. I’m headed to the farmers market this morning. Everything else we are ok on so far. I like cooking but now I’m back to work this week it has been challenging keeping up. Convenience foods and eating out are sometimes handy! (Note from Daisy: Definitely! Sometimes you’re just not feeling it. I keep a big supply of no-cook foods for times like this. Here’s an article with some ideas – not all are shelf-stable but in ordinary times, they’ll work. Here’s another article that discusses shelf-stable, no-cook foods for a power outage scenario.)
- Week 2 I learned that while I had enough to last 2 weeks at the beginning of this challenge, I need to continue to build up my supplies of natural medicines, and food storage. I am well stocked on baking supplies. Those will last the next month as well. I now have enough proteins to last 2 weeks. The same with canned and frozen fruits. Nowhere close to having enough canned nor frozen vegetables. I do have enough fresh potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and dried goods.
- I should stock more wine. You may laugh, but in our house, going 2 weeks without wine is a travesty! We’re still eating very normally – besides wine – which is awesome. We did make some dried milk powder up. We’ve used freeze-dried mushrooms and sausage in our breakfast casserole instead of fresh. I’m surprised that even our clementines and apples (which I had much more than I realized thanks to having two fridges one in our garage had a lot). We’ve even had enough eggs to last through these two weeks. We may have to break open some egg powder this week, but even then life is completely normal.
- I’ve learned that dairy (eggs, milk, half-and-half) were the first things to go. I solved this by selling a coat (to a neighbor for her son) then used that money to purchase eggs. I constituted this as bartering because in today’s world….and even in tomorrow’s….and item-for-item is fair and just. I just now popped several in an ice cube tray to freeze. Fingers crossed on this method working. I need a solution for half-and-half. We do a mostly organic diet, when and where we can, so I really don’t know how I’m going to solve this problem yet. Searching. I learned that I better have plenty of bananas on hand….either frozen or freeze-dried….because they’re a daily “medicine” for hubby and me. I mostly grind grain for all our flour-based foods….but, do use unbleached white as a toss-in on occasion. Note to self: Keep more bagged flour on hand! And, then there are the potatoes. Once the bag is gone, all I have stored is freeze-dried mashed potatoes. Note to self: order potato dices! Thanks to Helen, my friend doing the challenge with me, for a full can of freeze-dried potatoes. She left here with chocolate cake and homemade, whole grain bread! I also realized that we don’t have enough fruit and we have no spinach beyond what I have in the freezer, which is plenty for this challenge….but would not be plenty beyond it. I’ve spent this month’s grocery money ordering freeze-dried spinach, broccoli, ground beef, strawberries and more (to store, not use in the challenge). There are several shipments due to arrive late next week and I hope to have a basket on the porch full of goodies for the delivery guys. They will have earned it. I admire others who can food, dehydrate, garden, and otherwise stay more self-sustaining than we do. But, that said, I’m completely comfortable in my own skin….doing life my way. Hats off to all of us for trying! (Note from Daisy: Do you dehydrate? One thing I found is that with spinach, I dehydrate it, then toss it into the food processor and make a green powder. I add this to all manner of things for a dose of veggies and nutrition.)
- I’m going to tutor my daughter again for her GRE’s tomorrow so I’ve asked her to bring me 4 items from the grocery store in exchange for the tutoring: bananas, grapes, greens, and a little OJ. I have barely tapped into my food stock beyond what has been in my freezer or my ‘everyday’ pantry. So except for the fresh food, this challenge has been more about learning to source or barter fresh veggies and fruit.
- We started late too…so just finishing our first week. So far we haven’t noticed any holes in our preps. But I can see by the time we get to the end of the month, we will have to be very creative. We have run out of our fresh garlic. And we LOVE cooking with it. So will be planting more of it in the garden next year. We also will do a better job of storing the harvest from our backyard garden next year. And plant more carrots and onions, and fewer jalapeño plants. This is def a great challenge. Am learning so much from all the other participants. Week three…come get us!
- Life pretty much as normal. My doggie is running short of his favorite jerky chews so I am finding creative ways to extend his still half a bag – tear them in half before inserting in his kong, peanut butter in the king, etc. He loves his treats. Plenty of regular biscuits just short of his chews – mainly because they haven’t been on sale so I have only been buying as needed after I used up my back up stash of them.
- It takes creativity but bartering has paid off. I traded glass jars for sweet potatoes.
- Missing fresh fruits and veggies. Have plenty canned and frozen but fresh is just….better. Eggs and dairy are ok since I have a small farm and keep chickens and milk goats. Need to get that little greenhouse built this year. Would have been way worse without electricity and the freezers.
- I ran out of the box plant milk I use- who runs out of that? It and canned tomatoes-I didn’t inventory them. My mistake-how stupid. I just “assumed” (hate that word) that I had enough.
- I had to barter home canned goods for chicken feed. Everything else is holding out so far. Fresh milk expires tomorrow, so that will be the end of that. (Note from Daisy: As several people mentioned in the thread, milk that is just starting to turn can be used in baking – but don’t push it too far.)
- The best part about this challenge- I’ve learned a ton from reading the posts on this site. As far as our food, we’re okay but we didn’t eat much last week. This week, the girl is at her dad’s for the week so it’s just me and the oldest. More bad weather coming in tomorrow, and I keep thinking I should run to the store but for the life of me, I don’t know for what! Second best part- it gave me an incentive to organize my storage, so now I know what I have and what I need, and I can start adding more for the long term. Thanks for the brain exercises!
- Have learned a lot from posts and ideas of others. I have jotted down several ideas in my memo app for future reference. We are so tight with finances this month, I had to drop back and hold some cash in reserve to purchase things we ran out of. If I tried to have everything bought in advance, I would not have had the cash to get what was needed. Hope that makes sense? But, I went to the store much less than normal and before I purchased something, I asked myself what I would do if I could NOT shop for that item. (Note from Daisy: That totally makes sense! And I bet you’re saving a ton this month to get a jump start on next month!)
- I forgot a ton of stuff in my freezer so we’ve been using that up, or canning it. (Note from Daisy: We, too, have found a motherlode in the bottom of the freezer. It’s like we went shopping to have the extra variety.)
How’s it going for you?
Are you participating in the challenge? What have been your favorite stockpile meals? What have you learned? What are you running low on?
Share your stories in the comments section and keep up the good work in Week 3!
About the Author
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.